St Mirren V Hearts at Hampden Park : Match Preview

16 March 2013 03:31
St Mirren V Hearts - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Locke takes permanent charge at Tynecastle

Hearts handed Gary Locke the manager's job on a permanent basis 24 hours before he was due to lead the team in the Scottish Communities League Cup final as caretaker boss.

Hearts had spoken to Peter Houston over the job with the former Dundee United manager reported to be lined up to take over after the Hampden clash with St Mirren - but they confirmed today that Locke would continue in the role.

The club said in a statement: "After considering all shortlisted candidates the board of the club has decided to hand the management role to Gary on a deal until the end of next season, while Edgaras Jankauskas and Darren Murray will continue to assist."

Locke led Hearts to four points from three Clydesdale Bank Premier League games after stepping up from his role as first-team coach when John McGlynn lost his job following four consecutive defeats.

Hearts director Sergejus Fedotovas said: "We considered several people for the job and were close to making an appointment of what we believed to be the best of outside candidates, but it was Gary Locke who scored more points among the board members and now I believe that it is right that Gary, Edgaras and Darren continue to be given an opportunity to build on the work they have begun.

"Gary clearly has the same desire as a coach that he showed as a player for the club and with the support of Edgaras, Darren and the players he has an opportunity to deliver success to the club.

"Our decision provides certainty to everyone through to the end of next season and reinforces the focus we all have in trying to achieve a special chapter in the history of this club on Sunday."

Locke made 189 appearances for Hearts as a player and helped lift the Scottish Cup in 1998 as club captain, despite missing the final win over Rangers through injury.

Meanwhile, Danny Lennon revealed pride in leading St Mirren out at a cup final would outweigh any personal excitement over his Hampden appearance.

The St Mirren manager missed out on Raith Rovers' shock League Cup final win over Celtic at Ibrox in 1994 after suffering an injury in training days earlier.

On Sunday he will get the chance to be involved when Saints face Hearts in the Scottish Communities League Cup final.

But he insists he will be thinking more about the club than himself when he walks out to 50,000 supporters.

The 43-year-old: "I'm not really excited about it, I will be immensely proud on the day.

"It's an absolute honour and privilege to serve this wonderful football club and I'll certainly be enjoying that.

"I'm delighted at this stage of my young managerial career that I have managed to get to a national cup final and we want to go and win it.

"Once you get there it's a great feeling but it quickly sinks away and you realise you have got to go and win it now."

Saints have sold about 15,000 tickets and Lennon was keen to stress that the final is for the fans.

"That's what it's all about," he said. "They are the most important people at any football club.

"It would mean the world to myself, to my staff, to my directors and to my players if we could bring a national cup back home to the wonderful fans of Paisley and be another piece of this club's wonderful 135-year history.

"This club was one of the original members of the Scottish Football League.

"We have won the Scottish Cup three times and we have never won the League Cup in this club's history. This is an opportunity to win it.

"We have managed to get a second League Cup final in three years, which is great, and we want to do nothing more than bring it back to the most important people at this football club, and that's our fans."

Source: PA